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Tradfest Irish music festival is back in Belgium

00:19 19/02/2019

Tradfest Belgica is back in Belgium, with the annual celebration of Irish music taking place from 21-23 February. The three-day festival will comprise traditional Irish music and dance. 

Tradfest began in 2014 and ran for three years before taking a break. It is finally back after a brief break with plenty of traditional Irish music and dance to boot.  

An after work céilí at Rue Montoyer 1 will start off the music festival on Thursday. At the Céilí, which is the Irish word for folk dance, attendees can learn from experienced Irish musicians how to take part in these traditional group dances. No need to be an expert, beginners are more than welcome.

“Half of the fun is in getting them wrong at the beginning,” Ronan Healy, co-organiser of the festival, said. “It’s about the joy of dancing, without needing the virtuosity.” 

A session at Scott’s Bar will take place on Friday, with students from the Newe Academy of Irish Dance performing Riverdance-style moves along with traditional reels and jigs. The event will show attendees what a real Irish session is like. 

A sold-out concert by FourWinds, an Irish band, on Saturday night brings the music festival to an end. The concert will be held in the concert hall of the Irish College in Leuven.

“FourWinds really are a very fine example of how you can stay true to the deep tradition of Irish music and still create a fresh energetic sound that can really lift the listener and carry them away on the wings of a tune,” Healy said.

The concert will also feature Les Fous de Bassan, a folk band from Belgium, and Irish dancing onstage. “It’ll be nice to have that multicultural vibe of Belgian and Irish musicians alike,” Karen McHugh, co-organiser of the festival, said. 

Tradfest Belgica is a unique Irish experience right in the middle of Belgium. “It’s that idea of being able to enjoy top-quality entertainment while also having a chance to get up and really take part in it all,” Healy said. “There is a pulsating rhythm in Irish music and dance that gets people’s hearts beating and lifts their spirits.”

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Written by Sophia Moll